WEST Augusta have held off a fast-finishing South Augusta to bounce back from their first loss of the season with a 10-point victory.
South came hard late in the game to edge in front, but two goals in the closing stages gave the Hawks their fifth win of the season.
Throughout the whole game, the two sides were neck and neck with close match-ups wherever you looked. It was labelled as the match of the round and it lived up to all the hype with a heart-stopping finish.
South brought in three players who all played their first A-Grade game for the season. Rowan Irvine and Kareem Aitken made their debuts, while 2016 premiership player Liam Bury was recalled into the side.
West were thrilled to regain Fraser Sinkinson and Mitchell Foote back into their line-up. The other in for them was the exciting Jordan Warren, but he only lasted a quarter and a half, before going down with an ankle injury that sidelined him for the rest of the game.
West sprinted out of the blocks and kicked five opening quarter goals to take a 17-point lead, but South pegged back two late goals before quarter time to lessen the deficit.
West recruit Adam Nicol proved a big target, with no South defender tall enough to match him in a one-on- one marking contest. He kicked three second-quarter goals to pull the game in his side’s favour at half time.
Brendon Colson made difficult contested marks look easy on his way to another bag of goals. He added to his goal-kicking tally with five of the best. Sam Maule limped off with what seemed to be an ankle injury, as his day ended in the third quarter.
Two goals down at the final break, South turned the screw, piling on three goals in a row in the last quarter to put their noses in front in what was the fifth lead change of the game.
Bulldog Will Bolitho was then stretchered off midway through the final term after a collision with Hayden Warren.
Adam Bentley converted a shot on goal to put West in front against his old side, and when Tyron Warren kicked an absolute gem from the boundary line, West had sealed victory.
In his 200th game, West’s Nic Collins was kept relatively quiet by Harry Holland and didn’t have as much of an impact on the game as we’re used to seeing.
Mitchell Foote was impressive in his return to the top level and Michael Curley stood up to help his side to a win. Matt Downey and Darcy Kildea have become partners in crime in the South midfield and were once again brilliant, keeping their side in the game until the final siren.
West were back to their best and the clashes between these two sides will be eagerly watched later in the season.
Spencer Gulf League action will be put on hold over the long weekend, with the combined SGL side taking on Whyalla on Saturday June 10 in Whyalla.